It's been sad here. We realized yesterday that Julia was not getting enough to eat through breast feeding and had to give her formula. Kristin's best friend is a lactation consultant and was out here this afternoon helping and we're working on increasing Kristin's milk supply so that we can stop the formula supplements. On a positive note, giving Julia formula last night resulted in us getting about 4 hours uninterrupted sleep.
Kristin feels terrible, was devastated, was crying. I feel terrible. Not because of the formula, (though I agree that breast milk is best, and I really want to be a supportive partner about breast feeding) but because this last week my hormones have been out of control. I have had mood swings, weepiness, and anxiety. If I didn't know better, I'd think that I had just given birth. My breasts are even larger and sore (but not lactating, unfortunately). So I feel bad that instead of being calm and even-keeled during Kristin's emotional storm, I just jumped right in with the crying and feelings of worthlessness. It was pretty bad, even the dogs wept in their doggie way.
On a post before the baby was born, Anne at Land Mammal commented that perhaps I was taking in Kristin's hormones and reacting to them. I replied with a comment about the phenomenon of Couvade in which the male partner of a pregnant woman experiences "sympathy" pregnancy symptoms. Research has revealed that these men do have elevated levels of hormons similar to their wives (only at levels not as high) and I speculated that perhaps my hormones are fluctuating with Kristin's to an even greater extent because of the sensitivity women have to other women's hormones. I'm beginning to believe that that's very true. During Kristin's labor, I suddenly got the worst period I have had in a very long time, complete with killer cramps. We joked about sympathy labor. Then we both got weepy and irritable. Wondering why I was suddenly going crazy when I felt I should be so unadulteratedly blissfull, I went to see my therapist. She commented that she has had other lesbian clients who have had the same problems. Though it is most likely being compounded by my serious lack of sleep, her diagnosis is that I am, indeed, post partum.
So, a warning and a question:
Those of you reading this who are in lesbian relationships trying to get with child should keep this in mind and make plans accordingly. What kind of plans, you ask? I don't know. Buy lots of tissues? Bring tampons and/or pads to the hospital for the non-birthmother? (I didn't do that and I had to have a friend bring me some the evening Julia was born after I had used up the ones we had brought for Kristin's lochia). I just wish I felt a little more stable in order to be a better support for the woman who is truly post partum over here.
Did any of you who read this blog and are already non-biological mothers experience this post partum hormonal rollercoaster? How did you handle it?